Guide to Gutters: How to Clean Gutters the Right Way, How to Prepare Your Gutters for Winter, and What Types of Gutters are Best for Your Home

Rain Falling on House with Gutters

What are gutters for?

Gutters and drainage systems protect your home from standing water that can cause serious water damage to your roof, siding, foundation, and landscaping. If properly installed and maintained, gutters move water safely away from your home efficiently to ensure it is absorbed into the ground.


Gutters with Snow on Them

What happens if you don’t have gutters?

Without gutters and drainage systems, standing water can ruin your yard, your roof, and your house. Standing water also attracts mosquitoes and other insects you don’t want getting comfortable in your vicinity. To maintain the value of your home, to prevent the expense of having to fix water damage, and to save your family the hassle of dealing with pesky insects, you should have a properly installed drainage system that is designed specifically for your home and property.



How often should you clean gutters?

If your gutters aren’t able to move water away from your home, they’re essentially useless, so cleaning them is an absolute essential. We recommend cleaning your gutters, or hiring a professional to do so, at the start of each season. While you may have heard once or twice a year is sufficient, properties with trees tend to have a buildup of leaves, dirt, and other objects in gutters which prevent proper water flow and drainage.


Man Cleaning Gutters on House

How do you clean gutters safely?

The best way to clean your gutters safely is to follow the 4 Pillars of Gutter Cleaning which make safety a priority. The 4 Pillars of Gutter Cleaning are:

Protect Your Landscaping

Your gutters accumulate leaves, dirt, debris, and other gunk. To protect your lawn and flower beds while cleaning, use a tarp or old sheets to collect what you remove from your gutters. The easiest way to clean your gutters is to use an old rubber kitchen spatula to clear debris which can stick to the bottom and sides of a gutter. Don’t use sharp tools to clean your gutters. Sharp tools and metal tools can not only damage your gutters and their protective coating, but they can also create weak spots that are susceptible to breaking when weighed down by water and debris.

Dress for the Job

Cleaning gutters is a dirty job, so dress accordingly if you don’t want to ruin a nice pair. It’s a good idea to wear long sleeves and pants to protect your arms and legs from sticks, mud, bugs, and other debris that can accumulate in your gutters. Thick rubber gloves or work gloves are also essential you’ll need to protect your hands from sharp objects and gunk. A pair of sturdy boots you don’t mind getting dirty, preferably those without shoelaces which can get tangled or cause you to trip on a ladder, are the best shoe for the job.

Secure a Sturdy Ladder

Obviously a sturdy ladder is necessary for cleaning your gutters. You’ll need a ladder which extends high enough to see over the top of the gutter in order to clean your gutters as efficiently as possible. Only use sturdy ladders, and use a helper if possible. Only place your ladder on solid ground or concrete, not in gravel or rocks or dirt flower beds which can shift and cause you to fall. If you don’t own a sturdy ladder, or if you’d rather not deal with the hassle of cleaning your gutters, hire an expert who can take care of it for you.

Have a Water Hose on Hand

After removing debris from your gutters, use a water hose to flush any remaining dirt and grime away. Using a water hose will also help you ensure your gutters are working properly by revealing any leaks or damage that can prevent proper water flow and drainage. If any leaks are present, address them as soon as possible or hire a drainage expert to install new gutters.


Gutters with Icicles Hanging Off

4 Ways to Prepare Your Gutters for Winter

We recommend cleaning your gutters each season, but it’s particularly important to prepare your gutters for winter. This is important for two reasons. Number one, your gutters collect a lot of leaves, dirt, and debris during the fall months, so you’ll want to ensure they’re cleaned properly. Two, if you live in a colder climate prone to snow and ice, the added weight can damage your gutters if they are not properly cared for. Plus, you’ll want to ensure melting ice and snow is draining properly.

Clean Your Gutters

Once again, cleaning your gutters before winter arrives is the most essential time of year to clean them in order to remove the accumulation of gunk from fall leaves and debris.

Check for Gutter Leaks

To ensure water from melted ice and snow does not accumulate in your yard, on your roof, and around your home, check for leaks before winter arrives in order to fix or replace any gutters that need to be addressed.

Repair Sagging Gutters with Gutter Hangers

If your gutters are sagging or not installed properly, now is the right time to repair this issue with gutter hangers. If your gutters are already sagging, the added weight from water, ice, and snow can completely damage your drainage system as well as your home.

Add Gutter Covers

Adding gutter covers, also known as gutter guards, can reduce the need for seasonal gutter cleanings by protecting your gutters from leaves and other debris. Gutter covers provide enough room for water to travel through your gutters and drainage system without allowing other objects to create blockages. Winter is the best time to install gutter guards, since they can also protect your gutters from the added weight of snow and ice.


How do you check for leaks in gutters?

Using a water hose to clean your gutters is the easiest way to check for leaks and drainage problems. Using a water hose, direct water through each gutter to ensure no leaks are present. If leaks are present, address them as soon as possible to prevent water damage as a result of standing water.


How do you fix a leak in a gutter?

If your gutters have small leaks, you can use gutter seal to temporarily fix the problem, but you’ll want to replace the section of gutter or consider installing a new drainage system for efficient drainage.


Copper Gutters on Building

Types of Gutters

There are a variety of gutter materials and types of gutters available on the market. Even if your home currently has a drainage system, you can update your gutters with newer, more efficient materials like copper and zinc.

What type of gutters are best for my house?

What type of gutters you choose is entirely up to your budget and aesthetic preferences. Some gutters are created with higher quality materials and are therefore slightly more of an investment. The upside to sturdy, well-made gutters is that many of them can last for decades and need less cleaning due to their materials and additional protective coating. Here’s an overview of the most common gutter material types.

Aluminum Gutters

Aluminum gutters are the most common and most affordable type of gutter. When you think of gutters that are traditional white gutters available on most homes, you’re thinking of aluminum gutters. These gutters are able to do an efficient job of directing water flow away from your home to protect your home and landscaping from water damage, but they require seasonal cleanings and are more prone to leaks and damage.

Copper Gutters

Copper gutters are one of the most efficient and sturdies types of gutters available. One of the biggest upsides to copper gutters are that they don’t have to be painted. For individuals with modern homes or homes with brick or siding exteriors, copper gutters can add a level of elegance and charm. Copper gutters are also less prone to damage and are more resilient against snow, ice, and rain. Copper is also a natural antibacterial agent that works to prevent mold and mildew from forming in your drainage system.

Zinc Gutters

Created from a combination of copper and titanium, zinc gutters are the sturdiest type of gutter available. They can last for decades with less cleanings and they also include protective coatings which make them ideal for protection against weather and debris.


Mid-South Drainage System Installation 

Is your home in need of a new drainage system to prevent erosion and standing water? Mid South Irrigation provides drainage system installation for new and existing homes throughout Memphis and the Mid-South, so is you need a drainage solution for a new or existing property, we’ve got you covered.



Posted by Jesse Wisley at 10:11 AM

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